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Seven MLS Expansion candidates revealed


Seven cities that have applied for Major League Soccer expansion teams were revealed on Monday afternoon. Here are the cities vying for the two expansion slots expected to be filled by 2011:

That’s the same seven cities identified this morning by a variety of reports. The most surprising omission is New York, which many believed would be a favorite for the next round of expansion, with New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon reportedly fronting a potential bid. You have to wonder if the recent struggles of the American economy forced the Mets to focus on their new baseball stadium and put plans for a soccer team on hold. Looks like all the soccer fans in Queens waiting for a team will have to wait a few more years.

Also absent from the list is Las Vegas, which always looked like a long shot and seemed less likely after reports surfaced that the prospective ownership group was looking into buying a piece of the Columbus Crew.

Now that this is the official list of candidates, which city do you think is the front-runner? Portland, St. Louis and Montreal are receiving the most buzz as being complete bids, but the FC Barcelona-backed bid for a Miami team shouldn’t be ignored.

With New York out of the mix, my picks to be chosen are Portland and Montreal, with Atlanta a long-shot I would put some money on if I could.

Here are the completely unofficial SBI odds on the seven expansion candidates:

  • Portland…….3/1
  • Montreal…….3/1
  • St. Louis…….6/1
  • Miami……….15/1
  • Vancouver…..20/1
  • Atlanta………25/1
  • Ottawa………100/1

Share your thoughts on the expansion candidates below.


  1. Personally I hope STL will be at least one of the teams, being from Southern Indiana it is not always easy to catch a game. Chicago and Columbus would be the closet, but those arent fun drives at all. Either Portland or Montreal would both be good choices, just so Toronto or the Sounders will have a rival.

  2. Ives and all you doubters come visit and within 24 hrs., I will have you falling love with futbol in Miami! Great article front pg. Mia. Herald by the dynamic Michelle Kaufmann, quoting the ever delightful Ray Hudson. He will convince you!

  3. I don’t understand the case for Portland. Is seems sketchy at best. There are a lot of “ifs” in the deal. Ives, can you please elaborate on why you are so high on Portland? (Maybe I missed it, my bad) I think that when Vancouver and Montreal get their stadiums together (maybe not this go around for Vancouver) that is the way to go.

  4. Not that the Timbers Army isn’t wonderful, and that Portland isn’t a great soccer market, but I think it’ll be Montreal and Miami.

    Montreal’s deep pocketed-owners, spanking new stadium, and rivalry with Toronto makes a world of sense. With three Canadian cities bidding, one is certain to make it.

    As for Miami, don’t discount MLS’ desire to link up with one of the world’s great clubs, legitimizing the league. The prospect of an MLS Cup in South Florida is extremely attractive, as well as the city’s natural link with Latin America. You know the Barca folks are serious about putting a footprint in the US beyond playing friendlies and selling shirts, and the weak dollar makes Barca’s investment easier.

  5. St louis didn’t support their NASL team and have no USL team so who needs another Kansas City with poor attendance. Montreal and Portland or Vancouver should be in

  6. I’m sticking with Montreal and Vancouver as the next two MLS cities. The strength of the USL-1 franchises in those markets cannot be ignored.

    I’m glad Las Vegas and New York aren’t in the mix. I haven’t seen the wisdom in those bids yet. Besides, the seven submitted bids offer more than enough viable options. I don’t see Ottawa having any chance though.

    To “Just wondering”: Ottawa and St. Louis have USL teams in the PDL.

  7. Here’s the part that i don’t get…Can some please explain it to me…

    1) Isn’t it true that St.Louis has some very big investor problems? As far as i understood it, St.Louis has a consortium of money backers, and the main guy was having money problems regarding not only the franchise fee but also portions of the stadium financing???

    2) As for Portland, isn’t it true that the ownership group and the city of Portland are at major odds with each other and are NOT on the same page regarding money and stadium??

  8. After reading all of these I think the teams we will get are St. Louis and Montreal. Both have stadium deals in place and just overall have the best plans. Also, if you remember a few weeks ago Garber told Luis Arroyave that he wanted a team in St. Louis.

    The two next best plans would be in Portland and Vancouver, but I think the argument against putting two or three teams in the Pacific Northwest within three or four years is valid. It’s hard to take one without the other, and I really don’t think that with this expansion plan that we can add two teams up there.

    Clearly in terms of the business aspect of the league would be the Miami or else Atlanta deals, but neither has the merit that the above four do. As far as we know, neither has any true plan in place that will for sure get a stadium, and both have an unproven fan base. At some point, eventually, MLS will have to put a team in that area. When you have quality bids with stadiums attached like St. Louis, Montreal, Portland and Vancouver, however, you can’t bypass them for a bigger market/richer owner who doesn’t meet the other requirements.

    Finally, the whole discussion of moving Kansas City to St. Louis is pretty naive. Sure, that’d be ideal, but it’s not very easy to move a team, especially a team whose owners are dedicated to making it work in that city, and especially when the city you would move it to is a rival city. I’m pretty sure Kansas City’s owners only bought the team two or three years ago, and the only way I could see them selling it to Cooper and St. Louis is if KC can’t get a stadium deal passed. It’s hard to figure out exactly, but based on Wikipedia it sounds like they are building that stadium in Bannister Mall already.

  9. I think a big financial gap is tv contract in Canada. With only 1 team, there will never (or hardly likely) be a national tv contract there.

    Montreal and Vancouver will provide them the ‘foot print’ to garnish a tv deal..revenue, sponsors..etc

    I would bet the farm as those two being the expansion plans.

    Portland is a super city – I lived there for 2 years and Timbers fans are fun. But, USA in nw is covered..portland is a ‘nice to have’.

    St. Louis is not getting this if only because middle-america isn’t drawing great crowds – KC and Columbus for example.

    Atlanta is interesting – again ‘foot print’ issue and Atlanta is a mega-city (or predicted to be one in 10 years). With they come to games in 95 degs? (that’s May/June conditions in Hotlanta)

    Ottawa has too much canadian competion and is a ‘small market’ – I don’t ever see it happening (the columbus of the north? but, columbus happened)

    Miami is the fly in the ointment – how can Barca + Miami big bucks not get a franchise?

    I say 3 teams – Vancouver, Montreal and Miami!

  10. If MLS can get the TV deal with rights in Canada, expect Montreal and Vancouver. Garber was up in Canuckia working on it a month of so ago. I don’t know where the cities rank in terms of market size (I’m not looking it up this morning), but Miami, Montreal, Atlanta, and Vancouver are bigger than the rest (I believe so, could be wrong).

    Personally I’d like to see Montreal, Saputo didn’t have the $$ to come in to the league by himself and got the Gillette family on board, so that’s pretty big. Vancouver is doing great things with their development program and MLS is all about their development programs now, so there is another ready made group.

    Atlanta, I’m iffy on, just because it’s atlanta. Although their USL1 team did have (a couple years ago) the 2nd highest amount of sponsorship revenue of any soccer team in the US. They were second behind Metrostars (I think it was 3-4 years ago). So there seems to be money there, just need a stadium.

    If MLS did put teams in Atlanta/Miami, what would they do for scheduling? Would they actually use their brains and not play at noon on a July/August day? Hell even at 7pm it’s hot, but just no more early games in these locations!!! I know TV dictates a lot of it. I’ve taken up enough space on here, sorry!

  11. I continue to believe that St. Louis needs a team, for basically the same reasons that Kevin mentioned (kudos, to you sir). Not only does SLU have usually draw a lot of fans (even during down years) but our youth club system is one of the best and could definitely fit right in as a youth system for an MLS franchise. Cooper has been working at this for quite a while now, and with the WPS team also starting up, they could share the venue and market for each other. I mean, what more do we have to do?

  12. I agree with the post of sending the wizards to STL. KC just wasn’t meant to have soccer. And don’t be surprised if Ottawa Senator FC becomes a reality. They’ve got money and a plan and Garber’s dumb enough to do it. Chivas USA is proof of that and look how that’s turning out.

  13. Put money on one of either Miami or Atlanta. Both are huge media markets and in an area of the country that isnt represented by MLS. As for the second slot, I think St. Louis has been made to wait long enough but it will probably come down to the specifics of each cities ownership and stadium plan.

  14. My biggest objection to Barca is that 1. They want a team in Miami, and 2. We need owners whose main priority is to field a quality product and put all of their energies to make that happen. We have seen with Chivas USA that they don’t use all of the resources and that Chivas USA is not the ownerships No. 1 priority. They still have not added a big name DP. In fact they traded their chance for Armando Guerva! Just like Barca Miami would not be Juan LaPorta’s No.1.

  15. Carlos,

    The St. Louis team would actually be based in Illinois, just across the Mississippi River, and I believe funding is in place and ground would be broken as soon as MLS gives them a team.


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